Self Expression Magazine

My Neighborhood

Posted on the 09 July 2023 by Laurken @stoicjello

I loathe heat. This summer feels like I moved I moved inside an old Kenner Easy Bake Oven. Because of that, on any given day, I’m mole like. I don’t live in a house, it’s more like a semi-tastefully appointed burrow. I prefer dark, cool, confines and this house which I’ve spent years remodeling, finally feels like my home.

It’s situated on the a hill in a 19 year old community, which is hidden and unless you know where to look, you’d never know it exists. Beyond the gated entry, you drive for about a mile always moving upward through a green belt with a jogging trail, of sorts. Once you start to see street lights ahead, you make a slight jog to the right and voila!!!! Suburbia.

The neighborhood is essentially closed, meaning that there’s only one other lot for sale. I live just below the crest of the hill. Across the street, I look up at a handful of large, pricey homes that medical specialists, bankers, lawyers and Warren Buffet’s third cousin’s, dog groomers, gentile haberdasher call their own. These are houses with owners who obviously have copious amounts of discretionary F-you money. These are the people who in a pinch, have their people call someone elses’ people & who can magically reduce the painstaking 63 minute drive across town, to a five minute helicopter ride. You know, like JR, Logan Roy from Succession, Donald Trump and many other potentates (fictional and real) who can affect the DJIA with…..well, an errant fart. By comparison, I live in what amounts to the servants’ adjacent quarters. I hate the exterior of my house & my yard is by far the worst in the entire neighborhood.

I like my shtetl, mainly because it isn’t very friendly. Odd, you might think, but you’d be wrong. People keep to themselves. We prefer it. I like that. I don’t think any of us are antisocial . It’s just after decades years of living communally and cramped, my neighbors & I want to spend our lives’ third acts in some peace, quiet and above all, space. And it’s not social either. No parties. I never wanted to be a part of enclave that held those Darren and Samantha Stevens neighborhood block parties. Larry Tate would bring everything needed to make Gimlets, his wife, Louise, left to her own limited culinary devices would bring celery sticks with a squeeze cheese topper. Samantha would make a groovy lemon pie (as if Samantha could make any other kind), Gladys Kravitz made crazy by continually observing Samantha’s mad cap brand of magic courtesy of editing and fishing line, would bring a single pickle. Her husband, Abner would sit this block party out. Feeling poorly would be his excuse but the truth is, the Mets are playing on TV. Abner is a huge fan. Immensely defensive of the team, the ever hopeful, “there’s always next season” keeper of the Mets flame. In fact someone once asked him, “what a 69 was all about?” Abner replied, “That’s easy. It’s the last year the Mets won the pennant!”

And finally, Endora would bring a heaping dish of 60’s era comedic mayhem…with pool cue chalk for eyeshadow.

I’m told there are kids in this neighborhood, but I never see any. That leads me to believe that the kiddos here are either vampires or huge, gluttonous, Kafka esque dung beetles who dare not exit their homes in the light of day. Occasionally, I see glimpses of mustard yellow school busses pass out of the corner of my eye. But maybe it’s just an old, faded UPS truck, that’s seen better days.

As I face my street, the elderly couple to my right, are looking down the barrel at 90. He was once a big deal exec in Big Pharma, in charge of all things phrenological research. Kidney guy. He’s been reduced to a little scooter & works in his garage/workshop which looks hot as hell, but is extraordinarily neat. The mrs. is a little firecracker. Even while wearing her weekend, do-nothing clothes, she always looks well put together. I never see guests at their house. Like me, they turn off all lights at Halloween. Not sure why either of us bother. Trick or Treaters never stop by. In fact, I’ve never ever seen any candy beggars in this neighborhood on October 31. Perhaps, it’s the ominous trebuchets & the pots of boiling oil stationed mightily above the locked entry gates & you can’t deny the effectiveness that severed heads of vanquished marauders placed on spears has.
I know little about the family who lives across the street. Nice house, but they keep odd hours and once at Christmas, they simply threw out a heap of tangled lights. I’m surprised the HOA or The Texas Hill Country’s answer to Hitler’s Bund didn’t write them up and fine them. I’ve watched a young boy who lives there, grow up by shooting hoops in the driveway. I think he was a boarding school kid at the time, now he looks to be college age. He’s only there during holidays as best I can tell. He’s somebody’s son I suppose and looks just like a Mike Judge hand-drawn doppelgänger of Bobby Hill. He wears what he’s always worn regardless of season: a white tee-shirt, black rugby shorts, white socks and black Chuck Taylors. It could be freezing, raining, a scorcher or a a plain old Thursday. He’s grown up now, but still wears his Bobby Hill garb. Maturity hasn’t helped his game. His throws from the paint are still lacking.

I wouldn’t call his family odd…BUT….once I thought I heard coming from their house, rhythmic drumming and chanting—“Satan is good, “Satan is our pal” but I can’t be sure. We avoid each other.

To my left is a woman who lives with her adult son who drives a very loud diesel truck. He’s an absolute vision: unshaven, pigeon-toed in a gray khaki onesie. Mom is a bit caustic. She’s passive/aggressive with her comments, which is why we rarely speak. She once told me that as a responsible homeowner, a little extra effort would bring my front yard UP to decent looking status & stop diminishing everyone’s property values.

I told her Listerine works wonders for bad breath.

Well, that’s it. This is my immediate neighborhood in which people mercifully keep to themselves. I like it here. I’ll stay until my I break my first hip. Oh, and I’m not without my faults. I don’t make much of a neighborly effort either. I’m probably known as the hobbling, crazy lady who only comes out at night.


My Neighborhood

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